Friendsgiving is the perfect excuse to experiment with turkey alternatives witho't feeling totally sacrilegious, and pardon my ego but this is the best damn whole bird you will ever serve your guests. Not only is the presentation Ina Garten levels of impressive, but as the cook, you will be rewarded with a hefty reserve of rendered duck fat for future consumption. Don't let the four-hour cook time intimidate you; the majority of work is done by your oven.
Slow-Roasted Duck with Duck Fat Potatoes
4-5 pounds whole duck
2-3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bottle of wine (this is for the cook, not the duck)
Heat oven to 300 F.
Thoroughly wash and dry the duck. Cut off excess skin from both ends of the cavity (I use this to render more duck fat but feel free to discard). Using a very sharp knife, prick skin all over, being careful not to pierce the meat.
Place duck, breast side up, in a deep roasting pan with a V rack. Using your sharp knife, score the duck's skin in a diamond pattern, again being very careful not to pierce the meat.
Wrap the legs together at the ankle, securing with kitchen twine, and tuck the wings under the duck. Season liberally with kosher salt.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, and roast duck in the oven for one hour.
After the first hour, remove duck from the oven, poke skin all over, flip so that the breast is now facing down, return to the oven for one hour, and pour a new glass of wine. After the second hour, repeat the poke, flip, wine routine so that the breast is now facing up. Roast for one hour.
During this time, transfer the potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil at high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and allow to simmer for four minutes.
Drain and rinse the potatoes under cold water, vigorously shaking them in the colander to rough up the edges. This extra step will ensure that your potatoes remain fluffy on the inside with a crisp exterior.
After the third hour, remove duck from the oven.
Lift the V rack (this may require a second set of hands) and add potatoes, smashed garlic, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil to the roasting pan, stirring well to incorporate. Return V rack to the roasting pan and again, poke, flip, wine refill, so that the breast is now facing down. Roast for one hour.
After the fourth hour, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Remove duck from oven, stir potatoes, and repeat one final poke/flip.